Wednesday 28 August 2019 5:34 AM UTC
Ahmedabad Aug 28: India’s importance in the eyes of the United Kingdom as trade and investment partner would increase if “No Deal Brexit” happens, British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith said on Tuesday.
“No Deal Brexit” refers to the UK leaving the European Union without any agreement about post-exit trade and customs arrangements.
“Under our current prime minister (Boris Johnson), we are focused on exit from the European Union by October 31, preferably with a deal. But we are prepared to do it even without an agreement, a no-deal Brexit,” said Mr Asquith.
“So in that context, if the UK is leaving the EU and we will be operating as an independent country not part of the 28 (EU member states), the importance of developing trading and investment relationships, not just with European mainland, but with its major partners abroad, will be even more important,” he said.
“India is unquestionably one of our major partners,” the UK envoy said, adding that the two countries can collaborate in renewable energy, electric vehicles, big data management, artificial intelligence, financial technologies and healthcare, among other sectors.
“In the last four years, number of Indian companies investing in the UK has quadrupled. Last year alone, when people were believing the British economy is suffering due to Brexit, the number of Indian companies grew by another 50, taking the total number of such companies in the UK to 850,” he told reporters.
Similarly, the UK remains the biggest investor among G20 countries in India, with around 450 British firms operating in the country, he added.
To a question on Brexit uncertainty hindering investment inflow into the UK, the high commissioner claimed that it was not stopping Indian companies.
“Brexit is causing some companies to delay decisions that tend to be the expansion of companies which are based in the UK. It does not seem to be stopping Indian companies from investing in the UK. Last year alone, 50 Indian firms had invested in our country.
So the number is rising,” he said.
When asked if he thought the current state of Indian economy, which some believe is slowing down, was holding back British investors, Asquith said it is the ease of doing business and not the growth rate of economy that would attract investors to India.
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